Valeria Trujillo loves to dance. She’s also passionate about plants, family, friends and sustainable fashion. She’s been the Production Coordinator - and so much more - at Christy Dawn for six years, and her own father is our Head of Production, while her mother leads the finishing and quality control department. We caught up with her to chat about Christy Dawn’s new Extended Sizing Collection (which she spearheaded!), her love of plants, and her deep belief that all bodies are beautiful.
How has your view of fashion changed since you started working for a slow, sustainable fashion company? How have your own buying habits evolved in that time?
Before I worked at Christy Dawn, it honestly didn’t occur to me to wonder or check where my clothes came from—where they were manufactured, the materials used, the people who sewed them—it just wasn’t something I thought about. I bought what I liked, what fit me, and what looked good, and that was that.
I’ve been with Christy Dawn for six years now, and during that time, I’ve really had my eyes opened to the many problems present in the fashion industry. The waste, the environmental impact, the treatment of workers, the wage discrepancies, the conditions of the factories where people are expected to sleep, eat, and sew their entire lives away. I even learned more about my own mother’s experience in this industry, and it was shocking to me how she started out making three cents for each piece she trimmed and steamed. Three cents!
Fast fashion is ugly, dangerous, and destroying our planet and people, but for so many people, it’s unfortunately the only way to get a source of income—no matter how small that income might be. My father started Anteliza, his production company, because he wanted to change that. He wanted to create a clean, safe work environment where dressmakers and sewing professionals came first. Well-lit, bright, happy spaces where we could all work slowly, valuing quality over quantity, valuing time and space over rushing to get things done. You could tell things were different as soon as you walked into our factory. Everyone is smiling, everyone waves at you, everyone is laughing and eating lunch together and playing foosball during breaks. I think that was the wake-up call I needed. And when Christy Dawn and Anteliza started working together, it was like the final piece of the puzzle clicking into place.
I no longer purchase clothing from fast fashion companies. I try to be as aware as possible if I’m buying only what I need, how much I need, and when I need it. If I buy something and I realize that I’m not going to use it, I return it. It sounds like such an obvious thing, but six years ago I probably wouldn’t have given such thought to that! Before this year and things locked down, I was beginning to explore different options of sustainable fashion—like going thrifting or searching for used clothing on eBay or even having clothing swaps with a few friends (and some wine!).
It’s an ever-evolving journey for me, but I feel so passionate about continuing to stay conscious about where my clothes are coming from.
Why is body diversity in the fashion industry important to you?
Representation is so important—not only as a fat person but also as a Mexican. There is a clear need for more size inclusivity. Growing up I never saw myself represented in magazines. Even the people in my mami’s telenovelas were light-skinned, skinny Latinxs. I didn’t feel seen growing up, not on TV and certainly not in fashion.
And that’s why the Extended Sizing Collection at Christy Dawn was something I was so passionate about and so determined to manage. I’ve always seen beauty in everyone and in everybody (and every body).
Yes, you played a big part in bringing the Christy Dawn Extended Sizing Collection to life. What was that process like for you? Can you give us a little behind-the-scenes peek into how this collection was born?
I was beginning to look at my own wardrobe, honestly, and I just realized one day that I had no sustainable clothing. All fast fashion brands. So I started to do some browsing around to find sustainable, slow fashion brands that would work for my body—and I realized there is a huge lack of diverse sizing in sustainable fashion. Even at Christy Dawn—none of the sizes fit me. Then I kind of realized one day that I literally work in sustainable fashion; I’m in a position where I can make real change happen!
That was a huge realization for me, honestly. I went to Christy the very next day and proposed the Extended Sizing Collection to her. I was so excited and empowered when she told me she loved the idea and wanted me to really lead it. The next year was spent deciding on which styles to produce, what fabrics to use, having fittings on so many different body types, including my own. When we were finished, we had six styles that we had extended by three sizes - 1x, 2x, and 3x.
One thing I really pushed for was shooting these final sizes on three different bodies types. I wanted to show them all on a true size 1x, a true size 2x, and a true size 3x. I wanted women all over the world to be able to see themselves in our clothes and to really see how beautiful all bodies are.
You’ve gotten reeeally into plants in the past year - what do you love most about your little green friends? Why do you think you’re so drawn to them?
I get to connect with my friends over them, we’ve created this sweet little community where we share propagations and tips and tricks and cuttings. During the last year especially, it’s been such a blessing to create this little jungle in my space and to really surround myself with greenery and beauty every day. Plants have taught me patience and self care too. In learning to water and love them, I’ve learned better how to water and love myself and everyone around me.
How do you Honor Mother Earth?
I try to walk lightly through this life, going with kindness and thoughtfulness, treating people with respect and dignity, and understanding that we are all connected,we are all one, and we are all nature. I believe in fighting for equality, for peace, for dignity, and for love. I believe in Honoring Mother Earth by honoring her people, first and foremost—each and every one of them.